Sunday, September 16, 2007
The passing of The Tour
Heaven forbid Bauer send me the pics from the St. Charles stage today. Of course, it is early Sunday morning and it was only hours ago that I dropped him off to his family in a grocery cart.
Some very interesting things came about from the event. We set out around noon after stopping and grabbing some supplies at Dirt Cheap, an experience in itself. I always wonder about the frequent patrons of places like this. There is a culture of Dirt Cheap patrons, some of them not smelling as good as they should.
We were running late as usual and hurried to get to the Mound to meet Mogus and Thrasher. It was Mogus's 60th or so birthday, so he had a free pass from the family to go ride and watch. Anyway, our goal was to ride a couple hours in Lost Valley, do Matson and Klondike if we could, then come back to Becky Cato's house and watch the tour come by. She lives right off of Highway F, in Defiance. I would so live there. She and her husband have 20 acres of pure backwoods country. And what comes with living in the country is the country folk. With the exception of Becky, who is a very good athlete and racer, I spect most the people in that area ain't so kindly to a bunch of bike riders comin through, with their fancy tight fitting clothes on those expensive bikes with shaved legs. You know what they are thinkin.
We got the Lost Valley ride in, chasing Thrasher, (I am fit and just back from Crested Butte) The Smartest Man in the World. I will reference his superior intelligence bellow, keep this in mind. Anyway, he pretty much put the hammer down from start to finish. It was all I could do to hold his wheel. Bauer and Mogus stayed back. We finished one lap and moved immediately to Becky's because there was a fear that they would close the road and we would not be able to get the cars back to highway F. Once there, we went out on a recon of Defiance in which my friend Dale Rollings, of Old Yellow House Winery, engaged us for short time. He is also my attorney. He owns Old Yellow House Winery on the corner in Defiance. You can't miss it. Look for the old yellow house. I would recommend you stop there next time passing through. He is a great guy and putting out some very nice wine as of late.
So the roads were set to close, the crowds were gathering quickly on Schluersberg road, the points grab for the mountain climb. We settled in to our coolers and burgers at the foot of Becky's driveway. Suddenly this big white truck comes speeding down the road, very recklessly. It seemed odd because the cops had already cleared the course a couple of minutes before, putting on a great show with their lights and making a very positive impression on the states support of the Tour. For all for us Tour watchers, the thousands waiting in downtown St. Charles and the dozen or so spectators sitting in Becky's driveway, BBQing on a Saturday afternoon, working the tops off of expensive Malt Beverages from Dirt Cheap. Behind the truck were a couple highway patrol cars speeding to catch up.
Now, I had a cow bell, as did somebody else. The others were waving and cheering and every car was to get the same attention, there were team cars and Marshalls, other officials staying out ahead of the field. Closer the riders came. So suddenly, out the window of the speeding bad ass pick up truck hoosier, the driver puts his hand and flips us the bird as he is being chased by the cops. It was priceless. Totally Smokey and the Bandit stuff. We stood there, cow bells dangling from our arms, mouths agape, trying to figure out what had just happened.
The other remarkable thing that happened is when the main group came by. There was a break, not too big of one, but there was a gap in between 6 or seven and the rest of the riders in the peleton. On the second pass with the larger group, one of the riders (for Thrashers benefit we will say it was Contador) discards an empty Pepsi can. Well, Craig and I, being somewhat competitive in nature, knee jerk react to the concept and scramble to retrieve said artifact. Me sensing a little bit of danger, considering the rolling entourage coming at us, I hold back just in time to miss getting hit by a motorcycle. Craig stays committed and dives out into traffic, retrieving the golden egg that would have normally been regarded as yard trash, jumping the shark, nearly losing his life on stage 5 at the inaugural Tour of Missouri. I saw him clutching the can, holding it to his chest on his way to his car, on the way home after the Tour had passed. Good times.